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1999 Food City 500

Race: Food City 500 (Race No. 7)
Date: April 11, 1999
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway
Qualified: 34th (started 43rd after switching to backup car)
Finished: 10th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 500 of 500
Points Pos. Before/After Race: 16/14
Points Earned: 134
Money Earned: $48,630


Earnhardt ends Bristol in 10th 
Apr. 11

Dale Earnhardt, despite encountering many difficulties throughout the weekend, was able to walk away from the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway with a tenth-place finish.  Dale qualified 34th but had to start dead last, in 43rd, after wrecking his Monte Carlo in final practice.  The wreck left the right-front of his car demolished, but the team's hopes remained in tact.

The crew quickly prepared their backup car and Earnhardt was able to get 15 laps of practice in the second car on Saturday before the race.  Between final practice and the start of the race, the crew came up with a final setup to use on the backup car for the race.

The crew's work and last-minute adjustments paid off.  Dale didn't have the fastest car on the track come raceday, but with a little luck, a determined Earnhardt moved his way steadily through the field. By lap 30 in the race Dale had moved up to 27th position.  Around lap 60, Dale was up to 20th position.

From there Earnhardt inched his way further and further toward the front, even cracking the top-5 at one point.  Dale avoided the race's seven caution flags but in the race's closing laps faded to 10th, where he would finish.  Nonetheless, Earnhardt made a clear statement today; he's not giving up on his racing career.  Not yet.

"We only got about 15 laps of practice on that backup car, and the crew really did a great job getting it ready," said Earnhardt. "My hat's off to them."

Earnhardt's GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet came across the line 8.26 seconds after Wallace, impressive considering the fact that he had received a bad batch of tires during one of his changes.

With 210 laps remaining, Earnhardt pitted during the fourth caution of the race after Jerry Nadeau spun out and apparently got what he considered to be four bum tires. Just 53 laps later, during the sixth caution caused by a wreck involving Gordon and three others, Earnhardt changed them out and did not have any problems the rest of the way.

Dale's finish enabled to move up in the points from 16th to 14th.  In the past two races Earnhardt has picked up 6 positions in the points.

Earnhardt wrecks in "Happy Hour"  Apr. 10
Dale Earnhardt will use a backup car in Sunday's Food City 500 after crashing his primary car in Saturday's final Winston Cup practice session.

Earnhardt was running behind his Richard Childress Racing teammate, Mike Skinner, when the No. 3 Chevrolet got loose as the cars passed the start-finish line.

Earnhardt tried to save his car, but it spun sideways into Turn 1 and slid into the wall, damaging the right front.

``It was loose up off the corner,'' Earnhardt said. ``We kept working with it, but it just got out from under me.

``Things are real competitive. You can run the same speeds as everybody. That's one thing. To be better, that's what you want to be. We were working trying to get there. It just got out from under me (and) I got it into the wall.''

Jerry Nadeau spun his Ford but managed to keep from hitting Earnhardt's car as it sat across the track high in the 36-degree banking.

Earnhardt to start 34th in Bristol  Apr. 10
Dale Earnhardt will start Sunday's Food City 500 in Bristol from the 34th position.  In first-round qualifying on Friday, Earnhardt posted a speed of 123.000 mph during his first lap.  Dale puled off the track, not even attempting to improve his speed in the allowed second lap.  Dale found himself 34th on the starting grid after electing not to re-qualify in second-round qualifying on Saturday.  Only the first 21 qualifiers can pit on the front-stretch pits, meaning Dale is in for another tough Sunday as he will have to again pit on the backstretch.  Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip each hold the record for most victories in the Food City 500, with five.


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